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The original content for this article was contributed by The National Institute for Genealogical Studies in June 2012. It is an excerpt from their course Methodology - Part 1: Getting Started, Methodology - Part 2: Organizing and Skillbuilding, Methodology - Part 3: More Strategies, Methodology - Part 4: Effective Searching and Recording, Methodology - Part 5: How To Prove It, and Methodology - Part 6: Professional Preparation and Practice  by Louise St Denis, Brenda Dougall Merriman and Dr. Penelope Christensen. The Institute offers over 200 comprehensive genealogy courses for a fee ($).

Developing Research Skills

Research skills and research strategies are complementary and develop together. Basically, they relate to how you analyze your information and how you tackle a problem. ‘Doing’ genealogy and family history is not collecting everyone you can find of the same surname. In a logical progression from the known to the unknown, we need to properly identify each ancestor or family group. We all encounter problem ancestors whose identification or relationships are in question.

Methodology

Methodology includes:

a) recognizing what the problem is (skill)
b) knowing how and where to go to for resources to resolve it (strategy
c) understanding the usage of assumptions and working hypotheses (skills and strategy)
d) employing evaluation, analysis and deduction to make clear statements about identification and relationships (skills)

Skills

The Skills Themselves can be Outlined as the Ability to:

  • transcribe and abstract original material
  • analyze problems
  • make research plans
  • evaluate sources and information
  • analyze evidence
  • cite accurately the sources of all information
  • compile a proof argument, summarize a case study or make a written report

For now we will concentrate on more transcribing and abstracting, research planning, plus citation of sources.

Additional articles on these topics can be found in the “Skillbuilding” pages of the Board for Certification of Genealogists website.


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Information in this Wiki page is excerpted from the online courses Methodology - Part 1: Getting Started, Methodology - Part 2: Organizing and Skillbuilding, Methodology - Part 3: More Strategies, Methodology - Part 4: Effective Searching and Recording, Methodology - Part 5: How To Prove It, and Methodology - Part 6: Professional Preparation and Practice offered by The National Institute for Genealogical Studies. To learn more about these courses or other courses available from the Institute, see our website. We can be contacted at wiki@genealogicalstudies.com

We welcome updates and additions to this Wiki page.

  • This page was last modified on 22 April 2014, at 15:55.
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